Sexually Transmitted Infections
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) affect more than 19 million people in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Fortunately, many STIs are highly preventable. Consistently practicing safer sex makes the transmission of an infection less likely.
Women who are sexually active and have concerns about sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can make an appointment at the Student Health Clinic for consultation. The Student Health Clinic offers a variety of tests and encourages students who are sexually active to do routine screening even if they are not having symptoms. This is especially true for women, as many STIs do not show symptoms and can cause infertility. The Student Health Clinic offers professional, non-judgmental STI counseling. An appointment will be necessary to be tested for STIs.
The Student Health Clinic offers testing for the following STIs:
- Chlamydia and gonorrhea
- Genital herpes
- Human papilloma virus (HPV)
- Hepatitis B
The most common STIs treated at the Student Health Clinic include:
- Chlamydia and gonorrhea: Chlamydia and gonorrhea are caused by a bacteria. Both infections can cause similar symptoms. They are usually tested together. Most women do not have symptoms with chlamydia and gonorrhea. Most men do not have symptoms with chlamydia. Testing is performed by collecting a urine sample. It usually takes about 72 hours to get the results back. Both are treated with antibiotics.
- Genital herpes: Genital herpes is caused by a virus. It is estimated that one out of every three people in this area has genital herpes. Most people with genital herpes have no symptoms but can transmit the disease to their partner eight days during the month even without symptoms. The blood test will check for HSV1 (oral herpes or cold sores) and HSV2 (genital herpes). Symptoms can be controlled with Valtrex or Acyclovir.
- Hepatitis B: Hepatitis B vaccine is highly recommended for all sexually active adults. There is a series of three injections, given over six months, with the first injection given at the first appointment. The second injection is given one month after the first injection, and the third injection is given four to six months after the first injection.
- Human papilloma virus (HPV): HPV is one of the viruses that can cause abnormal pap smears in women. The Student Health Clinic offers a vaccine, Gardasil, for women between the ages of nine and 26 years of age. Gardasil is given as three injections over six months. The first dose is given at a date of the appointment. The second dose is given two months after the first dose, and the third dose is given six months after the first dose. At the current time, the Student Health Clinic does not test for HPV in men and only high risk HPV in women. It is recommended that sexually active women have an annual pap smear to make sure they are not infected.
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV): HIV is the virus that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS. HIV is found in the body fluids of an infected person (semen and vaginal fluids, blood and breast milk). HIV can be transmitted in many ways, such as vaginal sex, oral sex, anal sex, blood transfusion and contaminated hypodermic needles. One in eight people with HIV are unaware of their infection. Thus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested at least once and that high-risk groups get tested more often.
- Syphilis: Syphilis is caused by a bacteria. It may have no symptoms or it could cause a painless sore or rash. Testing is performed by taking a blood sample. It usually takes 72 hours to get the results back. It is treatable with antibiotics.